Trump announced on Friday that the US would keep the pact in place and waive sanctions against Iran for the "last time", in order to secure agreement from the US' European allies to fix its "terrible flaws". "Rather than repeating exhausted rhetoric, United States must bring itself into full compliance - just like Iran".
"Instead I have outlined two possible paths forward: either fix the deal's disastrous flaws, or the United States will withdraw", he added. Under the current deal they are set to expire in 2025.
But Trump gave European allies only 120 days to agree to an overhaul of the deal. He also wants Tehran's ballistic missile program to be addressed.
In its statement, the Iranian Foreign Ministry reiterated that position.
"These designations politically will go to the top of the regime", said another administration official, also speaking anonymously, "and send the message that the United States will not tolerate the violation of the rights of [Iranian] citizens". Specifically, Trump has called for a removal of "sunset clauses" in the deal, which allow Iran to slowly restart nuclear efforts throughout the next decade. In the absence of such an agreement, the United States will not again waive sanctions in order to stay in the Iran nuclear deal.
Iran has dismissed USA calls for the quit of missile program development, and it has stressed that its nuclear program is peaceful.
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Those points would have to be blessed by Congress and woven into a supplemental deal forged with the US' European allies.
"We see this as yet another attempt to influence our internal situation, especially ahead of the presidential election", he said. Most of those sanctions including the ones imposed on Iran's judiciary chief came as a outcome of the crackdown by the government of its citizens who were protesting peacefully last week. It is hard to imagine how Tehran would take European demands for changing the deal seriously when those players know the demands come under duress.
A statement from J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami called on members of congress and "any responsible officials remaining inside the administration" to take steps "to reverse this decision and prevent this disastrous policy from being carried out".
Iran will definitely respond to the US act by putting the name of Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani on list of sanctions.
Under the deal, Iran agreed to curb its nuclear programme, in exchange for lifting of most sanctions.
"Naming and shaming Sadegh Larijani is one small way the USA can bring its human-rights policy and coercive economic strategy against Iran into greater alignment", said Behnam Ben Taleblu, Iran expert at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington.